Shoshong, Botswana: A Pilot Project

Shoshong – Latest News


To spearhead the development of a greatly increased ability to care for spinal disorders in the developing world, WSC has launched a pilot project in the rural village of Shoshong, Botswana.

In June, a World Spine Care delegation traveled to Botswana to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the Botswana Ministry of Health and World Spine Care.  This marked the launch of the Shoshong project with significant support and resources from the Government of Botswana.

Dr. Kolataamo Malefo, Permanent Secretary of the Botswana Ministry of Health and Dr. Scott Haldeman sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the Botswana Ministry of Health and World Spine Care on June 22nd., 2011

The WSC team with Dr. Kolataamo Malefo, Permanent Secretary of the Botswana Ministry of Health, Mrs. Johannah Makhwade, Deputy Director of Clinical Services and Vanessa Beyleveld of Premier Consulting after the signing of the MOU.

Focus of the Project

The Shoshong project focuses on three activities:

  1. The development and implementation of a universal clinical protocol for the screening, assessment, and management of spinal disorders in the general population;
  2. The development and implementation of an associated culturally-appropriate front-line worker training program, and;
  3. The study of musculoskeletal disorders presenting in people living with HIV / AIDS.

The Impact of the Shoshong Project

The Shoshong will:

  1. Develop a sustainable capacity for effective spinal care in Shoshong and the regional health district;
  2. Deploy and evaluate the WSC spinal care screening, assessment, and treatment protocols, and the associated front-line health worker training program. These protocols constitute a universal model of care for the spine – an essential and foundational tool in bringing spinal care to the world’s most disadvantaged; and,
  3. Conduct extensive research including pre and post epidemiological studies, three sub-studies evaluating the WSC model of care, and research tracking the nature and frequency of musculoskeletal conditions occurring in patients who are living with HIV / AIDS.

Primary Care

Central to the Shoshong project is the opening of a spinal care clinic in the village of Shoshong, Botswana. This clinic will offer spinal care services to the population of Shoshong – services which are otherwise unavailable. It is estimated that upwards of 600 patients will be treated per year at the clinic. In addition, the clinic will operate as the nexus of the extensive research being undertaken within the Shoshong project.

In support of the primary clinic, a diagnostic rehabilitation center will be established in the Mahalapye District Hospital to provide secondary diagnostic and treatment protocols for those patients who are unable to be appropriately managed in the Shoshong Clinic. Specialized follow-on care will be provided for clinic patients, with WSC flying in volunteer surgical and rheumatological specialists as required, with the Mahalapye Teaching Hospital providing hospital services and support staff. When patient care requires advanced surgery and other advanced tertiary care, patients will be transferred to the major teaching hospitals in Gaborone, under arrangement with the Botswana Ministry of Health, WSC’s partner in the Shoshong project.

The clinic in Shoshong which will serve as a home for the Shoshong project.

Local Capacity Building

Local capacity building is fundamental to the Shoshong project. WSC is directly building local capacity through a variety of mechanisms:

  • The WSC clinic will be used to provide training for Botswana health care professions and students.
  • A select group of front-line health care workers will be trained as trainers, capable of training further front line health care workers in the use of the WSC spinal care protocols.
  • World Spine Care and its partners are providing educational scholarships for advanced professional training of Botswana students in North American chiropractic and physical therapy faculties. After completing their studies, the Shoshong project will see these new professionals staffing the Shoshong clinic and future additional WSC clinics in Botswana.
  • Further, arrangements are being made to facilitate medical specialists from Botswana to travel and complete fellowship training in spinal surgery or one of the spine care medical specialties at the major programs around the world.

Project Schedule

The Shoshong clinic opens in late 2011, with project activities expanding through 2011 and 2012. Hand-over of responsibility for operation of the Shoshong clinic to the Botswana Ministry of Health is planned for 2015, with the continued partnership and support of WSC.

Our Partners

World Spine Care is building an international coalition of partners and supporters for the Shoshong project, including:

  • The Botswana Ministry of Health
  • The Mahalapye Teaching Hospital
  • Local Spine Care Clinicians

For More Information

For more information on World Spine Care’s project in Shoshong, Botswana, contact us at

Botswana woman walking while balancing a considerable weight on her head
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